Game-Changer: Alex Avila Homers Against Cesar Ramos

May as well focus on the decision everyone else will.

It’s the bottom of the eighth, a runner is on, one out is in the books, and Alex Avila is up. Avila bats lefty and Joel Peralta is nearing the end of the line, so Joe Maddon goes to his lefty, Cesar Ramos. You don’t have to know much about either to know this matchup favors the Rays. Aviles, in his admittedly short big league career, has hit .247/.325/.397 off lefties, with two home runs in 84 plate appearances. Ramos, in his admittedly short big league career, has held lefties to .197/.279/.197—i.e. no extra-base hits—in 68 plate appearances.

What happens? Avila homers to the opposite field and the Tigers take the lead then go on to win the game. That’s why they play the games, because seven, maybe eight times out of ten, Ramos gets his guy. Just not tonight.

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